Gallery director Becca Pelly Fry
Which exhibition or event are you most looking forward to in 2015, and why?
The most obviously exciting event this year is the Venice Biennale, which never fails to throw up interesting new artists as well as bringing out some real gems from the past. I love the way the whole city becomes an event, an exhibition and a platform for artists and curators. This year should be really interesting with Okwui Enwezor at the helm.
I’m also really excited about the Marlene Dumas retrospective at Tate Modern. She is an extraordinary artist, but somewhat under-represented in the UK, so this is a long overdue tribute to one of the most interesting painters around at the moment.
What do you predict will be the most significant development or biggest talking point in art in the year ahead, and why?
There seems to be much exploration of the current state of unrest and disorder in contemporary art at the moment, increasingly as a multimedia, cross-artform practice. A global shift in political awareness and widespread economic crisis, resulting in extraordinary public action and social uprising, has in turn spawned an urgent and at times slightly chaotic artistic response in many.
And yet, almost as a yin to this yang, I have also seen a return to an intense, meticulous and personal style of practice. In summer 2014 I curated an exhibition entitled Perfectionism, which took as its core concept the idea of a perfectionism of process, of artists utterly dedicated to the craft of artistic endeavour. In October this year I am curating Perfectionism (part II), which explores this idea a little further, into the realm of repetitive action. This intense, personal practice is very exciting to me and I think represents an interesting shift — I feel certain we will see more and more of it in the coming year.
Which artist most excites you right now, and why?
As always, so difficult to choose just one. We are privileged to work with some of the most talented emerging artists in the country, however, there are a couple of whom I think are at the beginning of very interesting careers. Dale Adcock is an extraordinarily painter, creating monumental works packed full of historical, mythological and symbolic references. Each one takes him several years, absolutely painstaking in their execution. Dale has appeared in the annual museum-style curated show, The Future Can Wait, three times and was recently selected by Kurt Beers for the 100 Painters of Tomorrow publication. He showed with us as part of Perfectionism (part I) in 2014.
Dale Adcock, Tomb, 2011. Oil on Linen. 260 x 199 cm.
Chudamani Clowes was the winner of last year’s edition of our annual competition for emerging artists, The Griffin Art Prize. She will be spending six months as artist-in-residence in a studio above Griffin Gallery from March this year, working towards a solo show in September. Chudamani graduated from the Royal College of Art last year and I think shows great promise. Her work deals with post-colonial discourse, colonisation, global imperialism and the ongoing impact of the British Empire on issues of immigration and migration.
Chudamani-Clowes, The Eye of the Stranger, 2014.
Screenprint. 870 x 580cm. Courtesy of Royal College of Art London.
Tell us about the project that you are working on/showcasing in 2015
We have a great new collaboration with Bristol-based Antlers Gallery, The Tragedy of Landscape (12 February – 13 March), which includes some really fantastic artists, such as Juliette Losq who was shortlisted for the John Moores painting prize last year.
Ambrosine Allen, Observation of the Mountain at Dusk, 2013.
Collaged paper globe, tooling foil, archival glue, archival varnish with UVA filter (matt).
I’m also delighted to be curating a group show of 25 students and graduates from the Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris, entitled Selective Memory. The exhibiting artists are all headed for great things and will be coming over to London for the opening of the show on 18th March.
We are also developing a new project for 2015 that expands our offer to a wider audience, and allows for increased opportunities for artists: Griffin Gallery OPEN. This will be an open exhibition, showcasing around 80 works in a salon-style hang in mid-summer. We will be awarding prizes to the best work, selected by a panel of experts. For us, this is an exciting and timely development as we look to increase our reach and encourage more people to engage with the Griffin Gallery programme.